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Councillor calls for more commitment to treaty

GISBORNE District councillor Josh Wharehinga is backing a call that the Government must commit to fulfilling its obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), meaning more than promoting Maori language one week a year.

Mr Wharehinga is a contributor to the Equality Network, a non-partisan organisation united by the vision of a more equal Aotearoa New Zealand.

The group claimed last week that more was needed to fulfill a full partnership between Maori and the Crown.

Mr Wharehinga said New Zealand society needed to look beyond Maori Language Week to honour te tiriti and there were clear, embedded biases in the system that prejudiced Maori and needed to be addressed.

“The manifestation of these biases are apparent in the poor Maori statistics in every field: health, justice, education, language and so on.

“There are many things that reinforce these biases but they can all be traced up to the establishment of our laws.”

Legislative processes needed to go under the microscope.

One solution could be to establish an upper house made up of 50 percent Maori representatives and 50 percent Crown representatives, he said.

“Their job would be to review any new laws coming through to make sure they are fair for all. They would have the power to kick back those laws to the house of representatives to rework.

“This way we can ensure that the rules are fair and just for all, and that past sins that breached te tiriti will no longer be repeated.”